A humor collection from the postmodern jack of many trades.
The creator and star of the cult TV favorite Mr.
Show, Odenkirk (co-author: Hollywood Said No!, 2013)
reached a larger audience with his dramatic role in Breaking Bad and
has written for both Saturday Night Live and the New
Yorker. There is plenty here that the latter would never print,
particularly in its more fastidious days—e.g., the opening “One Should Never
Read a Book on the Toilet,” addressed to students at a young women’s finishing
school and advising that there “are appropriate postures for both reading and
for defecating, and neither is compatible with the other.” Addressing a
particular public is one of the collection’s recurring motifs, encompassing the
obligatory commencement speech, the attempts by various politicians to come
clean with particularly embarrassing revelations (“The media will, no doubt,
suggest that there is something weird about me wearing a blindfold while having
sex with two people I’d met a few hours before, but I assure you I was on
Ecstasy and would have tried almost anything”) and, most audaciously, “Martin
Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever.” Odenkirk takes the concept of sacred cows
to greater extremes as the butt of his humor, returning repeatedly to Jesus (or
“a fairy tale about someone named ‘Jeebus’ ”). And there are some fairly funny
pieces on fairly easy targets, including consumer reviews for the likes of
Amazon (“This album aspires to claptrap. No wonder they
refused to put their faces on it!! Now I know why it has no title and is called
‘The White Album’—because you can’t put the word ‘SHIT’ on the cover of a
record album”) and a BFF’s character testimonial for Phil Spector (“he has
enriched my world with music, good conversation, and gunshots”).
Though this represents the first volume in the
Odenkirk Memorial Library, it isn’t likely that the author will abandon his day
job(s) for a life of letters.